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If I'm attacked on someone else's property, who is liable?

Imagine this scenario: You are walking through the mall to find some new clothes and a birthday gift for your sister. You realize you are running late to meet friend for dinner and are rushing out to your car. Before you get there, however, you are suddenly attacked, robbed and injured.

In these situations, you are likely going to suffer considerable damages including physical injury and emotional distress. You might assume that your assailant is the only person responsible for these injuries, but there is a possibility the mall or property owners will share some of that liability.

Premises liability laws protect people who are injured on other people's property due to dangerous conditions and negligence. Being attacked could therefore be grounds for a premises liability claim.

However, it should be noted that these claims can be very complex. This is primarily due to the difficulty in proving that a property owner's negligence actually contributed to the attack. In most cases, he or she will have had no way of stopping an attack from taking place.

In other cases, however, there is reason to believe that a property owner could and should have taken certain actions to keep patrons safe. For instance, if a mall, convenience store or other establishment is in an area known for its high crime rates, the owner of that establishment may reasonably assume that people could be at risk and therefore, should take precautions to protect potential victims of a crime.

Under these circumstances, a property owner may install or provide lighting, a phone for emergency assistance, security cameras or even onsite guards to monitor the premises. If the owner has gone to reasonable measures to make property safe, he or she likely is not liable for attacks. But if the owner failed to put any such measures in place, there may be an argument made for negligence.

If you have been attacked and injured on someone else's property, you should take steps to understand your rights and the legal remedies that may be available to you by speaking with an attorney. Every situation is different and discussing the specifics of your case with your lawyer can help you avoid making any costly mistakes.

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